The best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1 ?

Nelson Piquet and Nelson Piquet

There has been a lot of talk about Nelson Piquet’s statement and especially what he had to say about Flavio Briatore. This however is the part that caught my attention:

“In 2008 I scored 19 points, finished once on the podium in second place, having the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1.”

Whether he is right or not it depends on what one considers as having the best debut year. A comment from Carlos (under previous post) made me to look up statistics on other Brazilian drivers. I selected the most successful ones.


Ayrton Senna – debut in 1984 – Toleman, 9th, 13 points (3 podiums, 1 fastest lap)
Emerson Fittipaldi – debut in 1970 – Lotus (5 races only), 10th, 12 points (1 win)
Nelson Piquet sr. – debut in 1978 – Ensign, McLaren, Brabham (5 races only), 0 points
Rubens Barrichello – debut in 1993 – Jordan, 17th, 2 points
Felipe Massa – debut in 2002 – Sauber, 13th, 4 points
Nelson Piquet jr. – debut in 2008 – Renault, 12th, 19 points

It may seem that Nelsinho Piquet got his numbers right. Or did he ?

One think Nelson Piquet jr chose to overlook is the fact that the point system changed from season 2003. None of the above drivers had the benefit of scoring points for 7th or 8th place and all of them would only get one point for 6th place … Piquet’s point scoring finishes in 2008 season were 7 – 2 – 6 – 4 – 8. That equals to 2+8+3+5+1 = 19 points. Before 2003 the same results would only bring 0+6+1+3+0 = 10 points. That would put Piquet behind Senna and Fittipaldi…

He did score a podium finish in his rookie season, that would place him in the company of Ayrton Senna and Emerson Fittipaldi. But Fittipaldi also won a race.

Piquet jr. also should not forget that Fittipaldi as well as his father Nelson Piquet sr. only raced in 5 races in their first F1 seasons.

So do you agree with Piquet ? Did he have the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1 ?

Photo: Renault/LAT

9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Arun SriniNo Gravatar says:

    Yet another useless **** in F1 this year

  2. WesleyNo Gravatar says:

    The biggest score of those points were totally un-earned….his second place finish was a joke.Nelsinho just happened to enter the pits at the right time under the stupid pit rules.

  3. TimmieNo Gravatar says:

    Agreed, he scored his podium during a year when the pit stop rule under safety car was stupid and happened to be in the right place at the right time.

    If you are going to compare your points scored to previous Brazilian drivers on debut, you definitely have to take into account how the points system was then and how many races they participated in. A percentage per race over an average of the same point system would be more understand of who really has the best debut by a rookie driver!

  4. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    I have to give him credit on this one. I wonder if all those other drivers were out qualified by their teammates every time in two years. I bet he lost out there.

    Put a new Brazilian driver in a Ferrari or McLaren and they beat that stupid record. He had by far the best car.

  5. BenalfNo Gravatar says:

    I dont think Piquet Jr. is that bad. He has an attitude problem and maybe, maybe, that’s the reason of the lack of synergy with the team, Flavio and the mechanics and engineers. He thanked a few of the guys who supported him….seems like he had just a few. I think if he change is attitude and drives on a more balanced team he would perform better

    • CarlosNo Gravatar says:

      I totally agree with you. I watched him and Nelson Sr. on a Brazilian tv show, circa 8-10 years ago, and he already had a questionable attitude back then. Very arrogant the kid.

  6. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    I stand corrected. He was outqualified by his team mate 26 out of 27 times. I can not think of a better measure of a driver’s performance than comparisons to your team mate in qualifying and this one screams he was not up to the task.

    Thanks for keeping me straight Wolf…again!

  7. Filmes da TVNo Gravatar says:

    As a Brazilian, I would be pretty embarassed if that was the best debut of a brazilian driver in F1, everybody saw that things “didn’t go well” for him during the last year.

    By the way, it’s somewhat strange that so many young pilots start driving on a good team nowadays. Not a few years ago people had to build a career on F1, starting in a small team, showing results, and them going to a better team
    .-= Filmes da TV´s last blog ..Sexta-Feira =-.

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